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Continued recycling encouraged during COVID-19

An environmental consequence of Black Friday: trash
Posted at 4:16 PM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 02:31:10-04

EL PASO COUNTY — We've all changed our daily routines during the pandemic and it's showing up in our trash.

Officials at the Midway Landfill said they see 1,800 tons of trash every day and it hasn't slowed down despite businesses being closed. Instead, the slight decline in commercial trash has been replaced by an increase in residential. The District Manager for Disposal at the Midway Landfill, Travis Apodaca, attributes the gradual increase in residential trash to people being at home, ordering takeout, and tackling spring projects.

Apodaca also said people should be mindful of what they are throwing away. Hazardous waste can be dangerous in a landfill, and recyclables do not have to end up in there. "It's important for us to protect our environment, and to protect our future generations coming up, and to limit the resources that we are extracting from our earth. So, it's very important for all of us, it affects all of us," said Apodaca, when discussing recycling.

Waste Management also has a recycling facility in Colorado Springs. At their Material Receiving Facility, they collect around 1,500 tons of recyclables a month. People can sign up for recycling along with trash collection.

The company wants to remind you that containers must be cleaned before they go in the bin. If containers are dirty, they can't be recycled. They said it's important to remember, especially for takeout and cleaning product containers.

"With supply chains disrupted worldwide, the recycled material is needed to turn around and make other paper products, and food containers, as well as medical supplies right now," Material Receiving Facility Manager, Brandon Pelton said.

What to Recycle

  • Cardboard (without inside packing materials)
  • Paper including newspapers, junk mail, office/school paper
  • Paperboard, such as cereal and cracker boxes (with plastic liners removed)
  • Steel, tin and aluminum food and beverage cans
  • Plastic bottles, jugs and tubs (ONLY theses shapes)
  • Glass bottles and jars (Only IF glass is accepted in your community’s recycling program.)
  • Be sure all items are clean and dry

What to Trash

  • Plastic, latex and cloth disposable gloves, disposable masks
  • Liquid soap and hand sanitizer bottles that contain residue
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Facial tissues, napkins and paper towels
  • Disposable plates, cups and cutlery
  • Takeout containers (both plastic and foam)
  • Recyclable materials soiled with food or liquid
  • Hoses, cords, polystyrene foam and other packaging
  • Diapers, cleaning rags, old clothing
  • Plastic bags and plastic film wrap (do not bag recyclables, empty loose into your cart)

These lists are provided by Waste Management and apply to their customers.